Now I will agree that some of the problems this team has may come from a lack of focus, which is something that the manager can be ultimately responsible for. Every manager needs to be able to keep his players focused on the field.
I'd add this though, in general, I think he suffers from the same tendency as most managers-he overvalues veteran presence. This has hurt him with the pen IMHO. I'm sure Krivsky gets Narron's opinion when building the pen and when managing the Louisville shuttle.
My general rule of thumb on managers or coaches at the pro level is that at least 80% of them are Just Guys. Not saying they're totally interchangeable -- they have different areas of strength and weakness -- but by and large, they'll bring in a club at about the record you'd expect given the talent on hand and the circumstances beyond their control. Only a few guys are good enough to consistently raise their teams' level of play. (There are a lot more guys who can move the needle in the negative direction, but they usually don't get jobs, or keep them for long.)
I think Narron falls within that category. He's neither the problem nor the solution. That will make it seem unfair if he gets fired, but it also means he'd be no huge loss. That's how it goes for Just Guys.
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I doubt Narron will continue to outperform pythag projections, given the way this year is headed.
One area in which Narron has excelled is pinch hitting, and not many give him credit for it. The Reds PHers are currently OPSing .916, and this year is not the exception. In 2006, they OPSed .816, which was (by far) the best in the league, despite a so-so bench.
His defensive replacements are sensible, so I think he knows how and when to use the bench effectively.
He has done a good job of inspiring faith in several members of the team. Narron has gotten great/outstanding performances out of Hamilton (so far), Phillips, Arroyo, Ross, Lohse, etc.
I see lots of reasons to flame Narron about how he manages pitchers:
1.) The Reds have had multiple 120-pitch blown quality starts because he leaves the starters in too long.
2.) Some days his bullpen overmanagement makes LaRussa look like Cito Gaston, in comparison. Coffey and Stanton are #1 and #5 in terms of appearances, despite a great rotation. This bullpen can't continue to churn at that rate.
3.) He has had at least some interesting material to work with in the bullpen the last few years, and notta one has come up roses.
Last edited by D-Man; 05-08-2007 at 01:38 PM.